Ghana (/ˈɡɑːnə/), officially called the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign multinational state and unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning land mass of 238,535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” in Mande.
Ghana has a population of approximately 27 million, from a variety of ethnic and religious groups. Its varied geography includes savannas, forests, springs, cave systems, mountains, estuaries, and nature reserves. Ghana’s 560 kilometres (350 miles) coast is dotted by culturally significant castles, forts, and harbours. Prior to colonisation by the British empire in the early-20th century, Ghana was the site of numerous kingdoms and empires, the most powerful being the Kingdom of Ashanti. In 1957, it became the first African nation to declare independence from European colonisation. This made the country a symbol of black achievement and an inspiration for African independence movements. It also had a major influence on Pan-Africanism and the Black Pride movements in the United States of America.
Ghana is one of Africa’s most developed countries, performing favorably in indexes of governance, stability, peacefulness, and human development by regional standards. Its economy is the sixth-largest on the Africa continent by purchasing power parity and nominal GDP and is one of the fastest growing in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity per capita income, Ghana has the highest per capita income in the subregion of western Africa, and the tenth−highest per capita income on continental Africa. Ghana is one of only five countries in Africa with a free press.
Ghana is a major producer of petroleum and natural gas, with the continent’s fifth largest oil reserves and sixth largest natural gas reserves. It is one of the world’s largest gold and diamond producers, and is projected to be the largest producer of cocoa in the world as of 2015. Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system has made it a regional power in West Africa and on continental Africa. It is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and a member of both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of 24 (G24).
The etymology of the word Ghana means “warrior king” and was the title accorded to the kings of the medieval Ghana Empire in West Africa, although this empire was further north than the modern-day country of Ghana in Guinea region.
The name “Ghana” was a possible source of the name “Guinea” (via French Guinoye) used to refer to the West African coast off Ghana (as in Gulf of Guinea).
Ghana was adopted as the legal name for the area comprising four separate parts, which immediately before independence enjoyed distinct constitutional positions:
The minister responsible for shepherding through the independence legislation Charles Arden-Clarke Lord Listowel explained that the name was chosen “in accordance with local wishes”.